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Fun things to do in Southern California: June–August

An editor-curated list of the best fairs, festivals, events, and other things to do in Southern California.

The Classic at Pismo Beach

FREE! June 3–5 More than 800 classic cars and street rods roll into town for one of the West Coast’s largest car shows. Owners show off their fancy rides and compete for awards. Saturday’s live auction benefits local charities. Also enjoy vendor and food booths, a beer garden, and live music. (951) 801-2334. Downtown, Pismo Beach. 

LAWineFest

LAWineFest

June 4–5 Sample vintages from 50-plus wineries from across California and the world at the 17th annual LAWineFest. Check out vintages from Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda’s family (note the Dodger-blue accents on bottle labels). Also in attendance: local breweries, food trucks, and a live band. Tickets at the door start at $100. Buy tickets online and save $10 with promo code “Westways” at checkout. Harry Bridges Memorial Park, Long Beach.

The Old Globe

June 5–September 4 There’s much ado for live theater lovers at The Old Globe. The lineup includes The Taming of the Shrew (June 5–July 10), Freestyle Love Supreme (June 21–July 10), Dial M for Murder (July 21–August 21, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (July 31–September 4). Tickets start at $30. San Diego.

Music en la Calle

FREE! June 25 This lively Music festival highlights the area’s diversity with contemporary and traditional music and dance from all over the world. This year’s lineup includes Opera de Tijuana, Irving Flores Latin Jazz, the Lindley Lopez Circus, and Genbu Daiko Japanese Drums, plus entertainment from Somalia, Burma, and China. Tierra Central (corner of 41st Street and University Avenue), San Diego.

The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience

Now–June 12 Netflix, Shondaland, and live-events company Fever have joined houses to present the social occasion of the season, based on the wildly popular historical drama series. The lavish 90-minute event set in Regency-era London will guide you through various immersive rooms, including Madame Delacroix’s modiste and an underground painting studio. Along the way, you will have photo ops and chances to interact with characters from the show played by professional actors. Narrator Lady Whistledown will be on hand to greet you, and a string quartet will accompany the ballroom dancers. You must be 18 or older and are required to show proof of vaccination. Tickets start at $49. Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles.

Doheny Surf and Art Festival

FREE! June 25–26 Surfers, artists, and beach lovers share the shoreline for the annual Doheny Surf and Art Festival. Check out the Longboard Collectors Club exhibit and pick up some surf- and ocean-inspired art at Vendor Village. Off-site parking is free. Doheny State Beach, Dana Point.

Redlands Theatre Festival

June–August Something’s Afoot joins Romeo and Juliet (set in Louisiana) for the festival’s 50th anniversary season in the city’s historic Prospect Park. Noises Off, Life Sucks, and Bright Star, round out the lineup. Parking is on Cajon Street with a free shuttle to the amphitheater; a special drop-off point is available for mobility-impaired patrons. (909) 792-0562. Redlands. 

Shakespeare in the Vines

June–August How to Write a Renaissance Tragedy, a new comedy, is sandwiched between traditional productions of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet. Baily Vineyard & Winery provides the beautiful backdrop, seating, and wines to purchase—all you have to bring is a picnic dinner and a love of the Bard. Temecula.

Comic-Con Museum

Opening July 1 The Comic-Con Museum opens at the Pan American Plaza in Balboa Park. Standout exhibits include a collection of memorabilia celebrating Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry; an exhibit following 8 decades of Archie and friends in comic book, cartoon, and live-action form; and “Dave Stevens: Art for Arf’s Sake,” which pays tribute to the Rocketeer creator. Bonus for 2022 Comic-Con ticket holders: The museum will host free panels and programs during Comic-Con July 20–24 at the San Diego Convention Center) to experience its magic. Shuttles will run between the convention center and the museum. Adults, $19.95. San Diego.

Beyster Family Little Blue Penguins

Opening July 1 Members of the smallest species of penguin are set to move into a big, new home in July. The Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography will debut its largest exhibit since it opened 30 years ago. The 15 blue penguins, each standing less than 12 inches tall, are native to the coastal dunes and rocky shores of southern Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Adults, $24.95. (858) 534-3474. La Jolla.

The Fourth at the Bowl (and the Second and the Third)

July 2–4 What better way to celebrate our nation’s independence than with good music and great fireworks? For 3 nights at the Hollywood Bowl, which turns 100 this year, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will perform a program of favorites hosted by Steve Martin and Martin Short. Tickets start at $14. Los Angeles.

Pageant of the Masters

July 7–September 2 This year’s theme, “Wonderful World,” takes travel-starved audiences on a whirlwind tour of 17 countries in 90 minutes. See masterpieces from Europe, Asia, and Africa brought to life by a volunteer cast. Star of the pageant? Nellie Bly, the American journalist who in 1889 took up Jules Verne’s challenge to go around the world in 80 days. Festival of Arts. Tickets start at $30. Laguna Beach.

Imperial Beach Sun & Sea Festival

FREE! July 16 It’s a race of time and tide when professional sand sculptors compete to create elaborate castles in the Imperial Beach Sun & Sea Festival. Family and community groups are also welcome to compete, and kids have their own event. Sea and surfs challenges include the Mayor’s Beach Pier Swim and Paddle and the 3K beach walk/run. Refuel at the pancake breakfast and food fair. Portwood Pier Plaza, Imperial Beach.

Motorhome Madness Demolition Derby

August 3 and 5 What’s better than a demolition derby with cars? One with motorhomes, of course. That’s what is in store for 2 nights during the OC Fair’s July 15–August 14 run. Regular fair admission (starting at $12) includes a limited number of unreserved seats for the derby. Reserved seats that include fair admission (available from Ticketmaster) start at $17.50. Fair tickets must be purchased online. Costa Mesa.

AVP Manhattan Beach Open

FREE! August 19–21 Cheer on the nation’s top volleyball players as they compete for big bucks at one of the sport’s premier beach venues near the Manhattan Beach Pier. Tournament stakes total $300,000 in prize money. Winners get their names engraved in the nearby pier’s Walk of Fame. Manhattan Beach.

Paso Robles Trading Day

FREE! August 20 This is a bargain-hunter’s dream: a giant yard sale and swap meet in one handy location. Come to browse or buy—or sell (vendor space is $65). After all, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. The family-friendly event also has kids’ activities, arts-and-crafts vendors, and food booths. Downtown City Park, Paso Robles.

Nisei Week

FREE! August 20–21 Anime-adorned autos? Taiko drummers? Modern meets traditional at this  celebration of Japanese culture, music, and art takes over Little Tokyo. Enjoy the lively parade of dancers, drummers, and dignitaries; see the coronation of the Queen and her Court; watch martial arts exhibits; and sign up for the gyoza-eating contest. Dogs get their day too at Aki’s Pup-Up PartyLos Angeles.

Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo

August 27–28 See the dust fly as the nation’s top rodeo riders vie for honors in steer wrestling, bull riding, saddle bronc, bareback riding, and roping competitions. When the dust settles, this annual Old West weekend provides funds for local charities and cash prizes for winners, who’ll ride into the sunset and the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Adults, $30. Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, San Juan Capistrano.

Tiki Oasis

August 3–7 Every year, lovers of the island lifestyle and Hawaiian-print kitsch gather to celebrate all things tiki. This year’s event features music, shopping, art exhibits, car shows, costume contests, and colorful cocktails galore. Speakers will explore topics such as Polynesian history, pinup fashion, rum-making, and midcentury-modern decor. While tiki style is typically associated with Polynesian influences, the Caribbean has also helped shape the look. So this year, Tiki Oasis will dive deep into Caribbean culture, from music and dance to movies and literature. Fanciful tiki attire is encouraged. Multiday adult tickets start at $165. Town and Country Resort, San Diego.

FREE indicates free admission to the event, but additional fees may be required.

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AAA Travel Alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.

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